Hattiesburg hospital reports rise of patients with the flu

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The flu outbreak sweeping across 41 states isn't leaving Mississippi out.

The Medical Director for Forrest General Hospital's Emergency Room, Dr. John Nelson reports the hospital has seen a rise of patients with the flu. He says patient volume rose 20 to 25 percent.

While that isn't overwhelming, according to Nelson, he says that is a big increase. Nelson recalls the flu season increased much earlier than in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control report at lease 18 children nationwide died since early October; none was in Mississippi. Nelson told us the groups that are most susceptible to the flu are prone to have serious complications.

"Pneumonia, Meningitis, secondary viral problems, or you get a secondary bacterial infection that would cause problems. Those groups are the very young and the very old. Elderly patients have many more chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems, which can't handle fighting the virus," said Nelson.

Nelson recommends everyone gets a flu shot. Nelson says if you believe you have been expose to the flu, you can call your doctor about medicine prescribed to people who have the flu. Nelson says it's a smaller dose which may prevent you from getting the virus.